I do not like crowds, so I do my best to avoid them. When forced to be in a large group of people, I am overly fond of mumbling "I hate people" under my breath and not making eye contact. I would rather eat glass than be in Times Square on New Year's Eve. Or any other day, for that matter.
Also, I don't like being uncomfortable. I get cold easily, and I don't like being cold. Or being hot. Or getting wet.
Saturday morning at 8:00 when the starter pistol fired at my very first 5K race, as I surged forward in the humid mist, surrounded by several thousand other runners in close proximity, I felt exhilarated more than anything. CM was at my side (Legs McGee sprinted on ahead—she is speedy), and even though I was nervous I knew I was ready. So we ran the race, and finished it. I had only one near-meltdown close to the finish line (note to self: look at the course before the race so you know what to expect). My time was a respectable 30:11. And even though the weather was turning me into a sweaty mess (see below), and the fast people were pushing by me, and the slow(er) people were getting in my way, I enjoyed myself. Enough to want to do it again, even. So this morning CM and I started training to run 10K, something I could not have imagined only a couple months ago.
I will say, though, that even without that race-inspired adrenaline rush, for my money there is no better way to run than just the two of us, on our neighborhood path, on a crisp 60° morning.
I think I'll keep doing that.